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From Direct Action to Advisory Services: A Pathway to Scale for Social Entrepreneurs

March 27, 2018

By Sarah Miers - Skoll Foundation

A central question for any social entrepreneur with a proven, effective innovation is how to scale its impact. For many organizations and funders, the answer to this question is elusive. There are many pathways to scale beyond simply amplifying an organization’s own direct action. At the Skoll Foundation, we’ve been carefully documenting and analyzing the work of the organizations in our portfolio, and this has helped us spot notable trends, such as how an organization scales an innovation that works.

We’ve also noticed that a number of organizations have expanded into consulting and advisory services as a means of scaling through other actors. By taking on an advising role, an organization can scale a core innovation with less demand on its resources than would be required through scaling its direct action.

The experiences of three organizations in the Skoll portfolio—Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, Health Leads, and EcoPeace Middle East—can perhaps offer some valuable lessons to other organizations that may be considering a strategic shift into advisory services in order to scale their work for the greatest impact.

Read this piece in its entirety at Stanford Social Innovation Review

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